A country's traditions, culture, and language play a critical role in impacting the
wellbeing and structure of a society. Culture is regarded as a way of life that is characterized
of learned, variations, and social, adaptive, shared, and continuous aspects. A tradition
normally reflects the beliefs and customs that are transferred from one generation to another.
Using the 'Dead Man′s Path' by Chinua Achebe, the objective of this argumentative essay is
to describe how culture and traditions as well as social and economic progress affect the
development of a society.
Factors Affecting Societal Development
Culture is the foundation in which societies and communities are built. Culture is
regarded as a contributory factor towards the development and sustenance of a society or a
community. It is practically impossible for a society to develop without a predefined cultural
setup. In the story, 'Dead Man′s Path,' Chinua Achebe presents the character, Michael Obi, as
a hardworking and energetic young educator who readily accepts to be the headmaster of
Ndume Central School. Michael Obi was appointed specifically to assist in transforming the
school into a progressive institution.
'It had always been an un-progressive school, so the Mission authorities decided to
send a young and energetic man to run it.'
Obi would establish a new enthusiastic approach in education. However, conflict erupts
between the villagers and Obi. He was accused of negating the traditions of the community.
Such a scenario indicates that traditions and culture play a critical role in a society's growth.
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Culture tends to influence economic, social, and political actions. Public opinion,
which is a recipe for political actions, is determined by the cultural background of society.
Political structure helps in developing a national or communal identity. In the story, 'Dead
Man′s Path,' Obi strives to establish a different societal identity. However, Obi's efforts are
met with extensive political resistance from the community or villagers. The villager's culture
does not readily accommodate new approaches and ideologies. They are actively against
modernity as presented by Obi and view education as an instrument or weapon used by the
colonialists. Such a perspective further impacts the community's economic progress. The
reluctance of the villagers to develop long term economic strategies is tied to their traditions
and customs. The ingrained cultural train makes a challenge to develop viable economic
actions since the villagers do not subscribe to the new way of life.
Economic and social growth increases the economy′s making of services and goods.
An economic system is usually affected by the social community and economic structure.
The concept of economic and social growth demonstrates the existing feelings, attitudes, and
behavioral patterns in a community or society. Social development is enhanced through
schooling, where social competency, peer relationships, and social play skills are honed. "In
their two years of married life, she had become completely infected by his passion for
"modern methods" and his denigration of "these old and superannuated people in the teaching
field who would be better employed as traders in the Onitsha market." The objective of
schooling is revolutionizing economic growth by preserving and allowing populations to
integrate with contemporary economies effectively.
The cultural background helps in sustaining and maintaining the society.
Conclusively, culture and tradition, and social and economic progress affect the development
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of a society. The story, 'Dead Man′s Path,' by Chinua Achebe, reaffirms this argument by
forwarding viable examples as discussed above.
CULTURE AND TRADITION 5
Achebe, C. (1953). Dead men’s path. Retrieved September, 20, 2012.